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April 10th, 2013

ICP Announces Artists in 2013 Triennial

© Thomas Hirschhorn. Courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris, and Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York.

© Thomas Hirschhorn. Courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris, and Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York.

A.K. Burns, Lucas Foglia, Jim Goldberg, Mishka Henner, Thomas Hirschorn, Andrea Longacre-White, Gideon Mendel, Trevor Paglen, Michael Schmelling, Mikhail Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse are among the 28 artists selected for the 2013 Triennial at the International Center of Photography (ICP). This survey of contemporary photography and video from around the world opens May 17.

The theme for this year’s Triennial–the fourth in the museum’s history– is “A Different Kind of Order,” and according to a statement from ICP executive director Mark Robbins, it will look at works “shaped by social, political and technological changes.” Given that social, political and technological change characterizes life everywhere these days, the theme sounds like a catch-all. But the show will also look at a different order of image making, showcasing works that explore digital image making, video, painting, sculpture, collage, and installation art as well as photographic print making and the role of the photographer as curator. The exhibition will include an installation of approximately 100 photo books as a testament to the explosion of interest in artist’s books and self-publishing in the past few years.

The Triennial is curated by Kristen Lubben, Christopher Phillips, Carol Squiers and Joanna Lehan.

Some artists’ talks and events will be held in conjunction with the Triennial. On the night of the May 17 opening, for example, Nica Ross, one of the artists in the Triennial, will stage a video performance inside the glass-box pavilion of the ICP School, across the street from the Museum. If you’re coming by taxi, expect some rubber-necking delays on 6th Avenue.

Here’s the complete list of selected artists:
Roy Arden b. 1957, Vancouver; lives and works in Vancouver.
Huma Bhabha b. 1962, Karachi, Pakistan; lives and works in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Nayland Blake b. 1960, New York City; lives and works in New York City.
A.K. Burns b. 1975, Capitola, California; lives and works in New York City
Aleksandra Domanovic b. 1981, Novi Sad, former Yugoslavia; lives and works in Berlin.
Nir Evron b. 1974, Herzliya, Israel; lives and works in Tel Aviv.
Sam Falls b. 1984, San Diego; lives and works in Los Angeles.
Lucas Foglia b. 1983, New York City; lives and works in San Francisco.
Jim Goldberg b. 1953, New Haven; lives and works in San Francisco.
Mishka Henner b. 1976, Brussels; lives and works in Manchester, England.
Thomas Hirschhorn b. 1957, Bern, Switzerland; lives and works in Paris
Elliott Hundley b. 1975, Greensboro, North Carolina; lives and works in Los Angeles.
Oliver Laric b. 1981, Munich; lives and works in Berlin.
Andrea Longacre-White b. 1980, Radnor, Pennsylvania; lives and works in Los Angeles.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer b. 1967, Mexico City; lives and works in Montreal.
Gideon Mendel b. 1959, Johannesburg; lives and works in London.
Luis Molina-Pantin b. 1969, Geneva, Switzerland; lives and works in Caracas, Venezuela.
Rabih Mroué b. 1967, Beirut, Lebanon; lives and works in Beirut.
Wangechi Mutu b. 1972, Nairobi, Kenya; lives and works in New York City.
Sohei Nishino b. 1982, Hyogo, Japan; lives and works in Tokyo.
Lisa Oppenheim b. 1975, New York City; lives and works in New York City and Berlin.
Trevor Paglen b. 1974, Camp Springs, Maryland; lives and works in New York City.
Walid Raad b. 1967, Beirut, Lebanon; lives and works in New York City.
Nica Ross b. 1979, Tempe, Arizona; lives and works in New York City.
Michael Schmelling b. 1973, Atlanta, Georgia; lives and works in New York City.
Hito Steyerl b. 1966, Munich; lives and works in Berlin.
Mikhael Subotzky / Patrick Waterhouse b. 1981, Cape Town, South Africa; lives and works in Johannesburg / b. 1981 Bath, England; lives and works in Italy, England, and South Africa.
Shimpei Takeda b. 1982, Sukagawa City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan; lives and works in New York City.

* Photo, above: “Film still, Touching Reality, 2012.” © Thomas Hirschhorn. Courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris, and Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York.

Related Article

ICP Infinity Awards to Honor Goldblatt, Henner, de Middel

April 3rd, 2013

2013 Grants and Awards Announced by CENTER

"Son magnifique champ de fleurs," from "Gaijin," © David Favrod. Courtesy CENTER.

“Son magnifique champ de fleurs,” from “Gaijin,” © David Favrod. Courtesy CENTER.

CENTER, the Santa Fe nonprofit whose mission is to aid photographers and promote their work, has announced the winners of two grants and a series of awards.

The Project Launch Grant, which aids a photographer in completing and disseminating a fine-art or documentary project and carries an award of $10,000, was given to David Favrod for his series “Gaijin.” The work explores the displacement Favrod experiences as a result of feeling he belongs neither where he grew up, in Switzerland, nor where he was born, in Japan. The grant was judged by Library of Congress Curator Verna Curtis, COLORS Magazine Photo Editor Mauro Bedoni, and Pier 24 exhibition space Director Christopher McCall.

The Project Development Grant, which supports a photographer’s work-in-progress with an award of $5,000, went to Ignacio Evangelista for his project “After Schengen,” a series of landscapes of disused border checkpoints in Europe. The grant was judged by Denise Wolff, Aperture books program senior editor.

CENTER received more than 1000 entries for the grants from photographers around the world, the organization said in a statement.

CENTER’s Choice Awards give a curator, editor and gallerist an opportunity to recognize the work of photographers with exhibition, publication and portfolio review opportunities, among other prizes. (The winners of the two grants mentioned above are also offered exhibition, publication and portfolio review opportunities.)

For the Curator’s Choice Award, curator Tina Schelhorn of the Kolga Tblisi Photo organization recognized Marc Asnin for his long-term project about his drug-addicted uncle. For the Editor’s Choice Award, Vanity Fair Photography Director Susan White recognized Jennifer McClure for her series about her personal struggle for meaning. For the Gallerist’s Award, Pace/McGill Gallery Director Lauren Panzo recognized Bryan Schutmaat for his documentary series on old mining towns in the American West.

The winning work was selected from submissions that totaled 6,000 images, and which came from 43 countries, CENTER said.

For galleries of work by the winners and runners up visit the CENTER site here.

March 29th, 2013

David LaChapelle’s Former Agent Counter Sues for $75 Million

In what appears to be a tit for tat legal action in a messy business divorce, celebrity and pop art photographer David LaChapelle has been hit with a $75 million lawsuit by the former manager he sued last year for about $3.5 million.

Fred Torres, who managed LaChapelle’s relationships with clients, galleries and museums until last fall, alleges that the photographer breached their photographer/agent agreement, stole Torres’s customer lists, and is refusing to pay millions of dollars in expenses and commissions due to Torres.

Torres filed his lawsuit March 27 in state supreme court in Manhattan.

He alleges that LaChapelle fired him without notice, destroying Torres’s reputation and business in the process. Torres claims that he’s owed more than $5 million in expenses for printing LaChapelle’s work for exhibitions and print sales, and upwards of $20 million in past and future commissions for exhibition contracts and print sales that he brokered.

Torres also claims that LaChapelle surreptitiously hired away Torres’s employees in order to help him (LaChapelle) steal Torres customers lists and other proprietary data. Torres values the stolen information at $40-50 million.

“In or about mid-2012, the photographer defendants created a plan to try to steal [Torres's] extensive share of proceeds and steal its business,” Torres says in the lawsuit.

In addition to naming LaChapelle as a defendant, Torres also names the Paul Kasmin Gallery, which is LaChapelle’s new exclusive agent, and the former employees who allegedly conspired with LaChapele to steal customers lists and stored prints.

Torres is seeking $55 million in damages from the Paul Kasmin Gallery.

The damage claims include punitive damage, because the alleged actions of the defendants were “the product of malice, ill will, and spite,” Torres says in court papers.

Torres says in his lawsuit that he dated LaChapelle in the 1990s, after which they continued a business relationship. In 2008, when Torres opened a gallery and began representing works by other photographers, too, he and LaChapelle signed a brief written agreement to formalize their business relationship.

LaChapelle claimed in his lawsuit against Torres late last year that Torres was withholding $2.8 million owed to LaChapelle for sales of his prints. He also alleged that Torres owed him $755,000 worth of personal loans, and that Torres was refusing to return 800 exhibitions prints that were stashed in storage facilities around the world.

LaChapelle’s claim against Torres is still pending, and the photographer has not yet responded to Torres’s counter-claim.

Related:
David LaChapelle Sues Former Manager
David LaChapelle Sued for $3 Million by Former Gallerist
Rihanna Settles Copyright Lawsuit with David LaChapelle
PPE 2012: David LaChapelle Gets Personal

March 8th, 2013

Joan Fontcuberta Wins $143,000 Hasselblad Prize

© Joan Fontcuberta.

© Joan Fontcuberta.

Catalan photographer Joan Fontcuberta has won the 2013 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. The award comes with a 110,000 Euro (approximately $143,000 US) prize, an exhibition at the Hasselblad Center at the Gothenburg Museum of Art in Sweden in October and a new book of Fontcuberta’s work, to be published by Mack. The award was delivered at a ceremony in Barcelona on March 7.

In its citation accompanying the award, the Hasselblad Foundation commended Fontcuberta’s “30-year achievement of constantly investigating and questioning the photographic medium.” A prolific writer, curator and teacher, Fontcuberta has used photography to create witty fictions that playfully undermine the trustworthiness of photography.

The full story is now on PDNOnline.

* Photo: In his 1997 book Sputnik, Joan Fontcuberta cast himself as the ill-fated cosmonaut Ivan Istochnikov. 

Related Articles
Paul Graham Wins $150K Hasselblad Award

March 7th, 2013

David LaChapelle Sued for $3 Million by Gallerist

A Montana gallerist has sued David LaChapelle for $3 million dollars, alleging the photographer attacked him in his Manhattan apartment on March 9, 2012.

The suit, filed yesterday by James Parmenter in Manhattan Supreme Court, alleges that in the middle of the night, LaChapelle threw Permanter around his apartment, choked him “nearly to the point of unconsciousness,” then threw him out into the street. He is suing LaChapelle for assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He is seeking a minimum of $1 million for each cause of action.

A digital copy of Parmenter’s lawsuit is available here.

Parmenter is the director of Bigfork Collaborations in Bigfork, Montana. According to an article in a local newspaper, the gallery space was funded by Fred Torres, a gallerist and LaChapelle’s former manager. In December 2012, LaChapelle filed a lawsuit against Torres, claiming that Torres owed him more than $2.8 million from the sales of of LaChapelle’s works and from a personal loan.

In the suit filed yesterday, Permanter claims that he is still experiencing physical and emotional difficulties as a result of the assault.

March 4th, 2013

Photog Prevails in Copyright Case Over ‘Mr. Brainwash’

©Dennis Morris

©Dennis Morris

Photographer Dennis Morris has won his lawsuit against the appropriation artist known as Mr. Brainwash for unauthorized use of a decades-old image (shown at right) of deceased punk rocker Sid Vicious.

A federal district court judge in Los Angeles recently granted Morris’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of copyright infringement. At the same time, the judge rejected a motion by defendant Thierry Guetta–aka Mr. Brainwash–for summary judgment on the grounds of fair use.

“To permit one artist the right to use without consequence the original creative and copyright work of another artist simply because that artist wished to create an alternate work would eviscerate any protection by the Copyright Act,” the judge wrote in his ruling, citing another ruling against Guetta from 2011 in a similar case.

The ruling for Morris added to a growing body of case law against appropriation artists who use the works of other artists as nothing more than raw material for their own works. The message from federal courts is that appropriation artists cannot claim fair use unless they parody the original work, or in some other way critique or comment upon them directly.

Morris had sued Guetta for infringement over unauthorized use of a 1977 photograph of Sid Vicious. The original image shows the punk rocker tilting his head and winking at the camera. Guetta, who is know for appropriating images of celebrities and modifying them, created seven image based on the Morris photograph. Some featured higher black and white contrast, some have less contrast, and some include added elements such as splashes of brightly colored paint, according to the court ruling.

There was no dispute that Guetta had copied Morris’s photographs, District Judge John A. Kronstadt wrote in his ruling. The issue before the court was whether Guetta’s uses of the image met the legal standard for fair use.

Courts apply a four-pronged test to weigh a fair use defense. Judges consider the purpose and character of the unauthorized use; the nature of the copyright work; the amount and substantiality of the portion of the original work that is used; and the market effect of the unauthorized work(s) on the original.

In this case, the first three factors weighed in Morris’s favor. The fourth (market effect) was inconclusive.

Most importantly, in considering the first factor, the court concluded that Guetta’s uses of the Morris photograph were not sufficiently transformative. In other words, they did not give the Morris photograph enough new expression, meaning or message, District Kronstadt explained in his ruling.

“The [original] photograph is a picture of Sid Vicious making a distinct facial expression. [Guetta's] works are of Sid Vicious making that same expression. Most of defendant’s works add certain new elements, but the overall effect of each is not transformative; defendant’s work remain at their core pictures of Sid Vicious,” the judge wrote.

Guetta had argued that his works were intended to comment on the persona of Sid Vicious in particular, and on the nature of celebrity in general. But the judge didn’t buy it, saying Guetta was effectively arguing that any use of copyrighted material in appropriation art is fair use. “But this is the precise argument that the Cariou court rejected,” referring to a district court ruling in New York in the case of Patrick Cariou v. Richard Prince.

In that case, the court ruled that appropriation artist Richard Prince violated photographer Patrick Cariou’s copyright by using some of his photographs as raw material for his own works, without commenting upon the original works or otherwise transforming their meaning. An appeal of that ruling is pending.

For an appropriation to qualify as a fair use, Judge Kronstadt explained, “There must be some showing that a challenged work is a commentary on the copyrighted one, or that the person who created the challenged work had a justification for using the protected work as a means of making an artistic statement.”

Considering the second factor–the nature of the copyrighted work–Judge Kronstadt concluded that the Morris photograph was at least a marginally creative portrait, not just a “recitation” of a fact. That weighted “at least slightly against a finding of fair use,” the judge wrote.

Considering the third factor–the amount and substantiality of the portion of the original work that was used–Judge Kronstadt concluded the Guetta used most of Morris’s photograph, including the central copyrightable elements. That also weighed against a finding of fair use.

Finally, the court considered what effect the Guetta images had on the market for Morris’s image, and concluded that the market effect was subject to dispute. But Judge Kronstadt went on to say that the issue was immaterial “because a lack of harm [to Morris's market for his image] would not change the determination of an unjustified use under the first factor.”

That first factor, to recap, was a consideration of whether Guetta’s images transformed the meaning of Morris’s image.

Related:
Judge Rules for Photog in Copyright Over RUN DMC Photo
Appropriation Artist Richard Prince Liable for Infringement, Court Rules

 

February 13th, 2013

In Defense of “Ruin Porn”

As large swaths of Detroit fall to ruins, the city has attracted many documentary and fine-art photographers in recent years. Among them are Andrew Moore, Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, and Bruce Gilden, to name just a few. Not far behind came the critics who have disparaged the work with a catchy label: Ruin Porn.

What's wrong with pictures like these? Top: from The Ruins of Detroit ©Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre; bottom: from Detroit Disassembled ©Andrew Moore

What’s wrong with pictures like these? This image: from The Ruins of Detroit ©Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre; Below: from Detroit Disassembled ©Andrew Moore

Now Richard B. Woodward, an arts critic based in New York, has taken on the critics of “Ruin Porn” in a thoughtful essay posted last week on ARTnews.com.

Woodward dismisses the label itself as a “smirking neologism” by which self-appointed “doctors of the postmodern soul” identify “insidious tropes in our glutinous diet of images.”

From there, he goes on to weigh the merits–and problems–of photographs by outsiders of  places like Detroit. Woodward does that by considering the pictures of Detroit in the larger context of documentary photography. He ultimately comes down on the side of photographers who document places that are hard hit by economic or natural disaster, despite the limitations of the medium and the inability of photography to tell the whole story.

None of the photographers being accused of “Ruin Porn” are “pandering directly to a paying audience, which is the business model of pornography,” Woodward argues. “All are simply chronicling the bad news that has befallen people and looking for dramatic motifs to illustrate their stories. Many of the shortcomings people find in their work can be traced to faults in the medium itself. Photography is superbly equipped to describe the results of events but is inarticulate or misleading when it comes to explaining their causes.

©Andrew Moore

©Andrew Moore

“The camera itself may have been, as Walter Benjamin alleged, a destabilizing and decontextualizing invention. But at the same time, it has also been used to stitch torn things back together.”

He points out that “Residents of the South Bronx in the ’70s were no happier that those in Detroit today to see their neighborhoods turned into international icons of violence and dysfunction. Were the Alabama farmers in the Depression-era photographs of Walker Evans helpless and ‘exploited’? Or did those images crystallize their resilience against forces that would have rendered them even more invisible had he never been there? Is no news better than bad news?”

The full essay is worth a read by anyone who cares to photograph responsibly in places where they don’t actually live, as well as by those who would rush to dismiss that work as illegitimate with labels such as “Ruin Porn.”

January 29th, 2013

Call for Submissions: Those Photos You Took Before You Were Famous

Curators Laura Moya and Laura Valenti Jelen are putting together an exhibition for this spring that showcases images that photographers made when they were children. “Early Works” will show in April at Newspace Center for Photography in Oregon during Portland Photo Month, and at RayKo Photo Center in San Francisco in Fall 2013.

According to the a Web site setup for “Early Works,” “naive” images made by  photographers “often reveal surprising talent, visual intuition, and honesty. Kept for many decades in shoeboxes and faded albums, the images are often cherished belongings that play a key role in defining the self as artist.”

There is no entry fee to submit work. The deadline is February 4th, 2013.

For more information visit: www.earlyworksproject.org

December 28th, 2012

David LaChapelle Sues Former Manager

Photographer David LaChapelle has sued his former manager, alleging he is owed $2.8 million for sales of his photographs and $755,000 for personal loans, the New York Post has reported.

LaChapelle filed the claim against Fred Torres, whom he hired in 2005 “under a handshake agreement” to arrange exhibitions, provide career advice, and manage LaChapelle’s relationships with clients, galleries, and museums.

In addition to the claims for money allegedly owed by Torres, LaChapelle alleges in his lawsuit that Torres is refusing to return 800 exhibition prints that are now stashed in storage facilities around the world.

According to the Post report, LaChapelle ended his business relationship with Torres a month ago.

Related stories:
PPE 2012: David LaChapelle Gets Personal
David LaChapelle: Artist or Artless ?
Rihanna Settles Lawsuit with David LaChapelle
David LaChapelle Sues Rihanna for Infringement

December 3rd, 2012

Hillary Clinton Honors Photographer Carrie Mae Weems with State Dept. Medal

Photographer Carrie Mae Weems received a State Department medal from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a luncheon on Friday, November 30, at the State Department in Washington, D.C. Clinton honored Weems and four other artists—Jeff Koons, Cai Guo-Qiang, Shahzia Sikander and Kiki Smith—with the first U.S. Department of State Medals of Arts ever awarded. The medals recognized the artists’ contributions to the “Art in Embassies” program, which creates art exhibitions in U.S. diplomatic buildings overseas. The EIN program celebrated its 50-year anniversary this year.

“Art is…a tool of diplomacy,” Clinton said during her remarks at the ceremony. “It is one that reaches beyond governments, past all of the official conference rooms and the presidential palaces, to connect with people all over the world.”

For more, including a video of Clinton’s remarks, visit the State Department site.